Is There Such a Thing as a Legal Separation in Texas?
Can I get a legal separation in Texas?
The short answer is no. Legal separation is not a thing in Texas. Once you are legally married, you are married until the death of one spouse or you get a divorce, with very few exceptions. However, just because there is no “legal separation” does not mean that you cannot protect yourself in other ways before you are married or while you are married and considering separation or divorce. This blog post will discuss a few ways that a person can get close to the protection a legal separation may provide in other states.
One way that you can protect your assets in Texas in contemplation of separation is to have a pre-marital agreement under Chapter 4 of the Texas Family Code. A pre-marital agreement by its very nature must be executed before marriage. This means it has to be completed before marriage to have any legal significance. While a pre-marital agreement may not cover all of the things that are covered during a legal separation in other states, it can go a long way to ease worries in contemplating a divorce. Pre-marital agreements must comply with the Texas Family Code so it is important to consult with an attorney if you are planning on getting married and would like to execute a pre-marital agreement beforehand.
Another way to protect your assets is to execute a post-marital agreement. A post-marital agreement is different from a pre-marital agreement in a couple of ways, but the most important one is that it can be done any time after the date of marriage. Post-marital agreements also fall under Chapter 4 of the Texas Family Code. Post-marital agreements can be a great way to designate that certain property is separate property of respective spouses and to reach agreements on issues that can help expedite a future divorce. Depending on the circumstances, it may make more sense financially to just go ahead and go through with a divorce if you are contemplating executing a post-marital agreement. Consulting with an attorney is a great way to find out which option is right for you.
Williamson County Standing Orders
In Williamson County the Judges recently signed standing orders. A copy of the standing orders can be found by going to this LINK. The standing orders apply to any divorce filed after March 1, 2019, in Williamson County. The standing orders may result in a similar outcome as a legal separation in many states. The standing orders contain provisions for how property and children should be handled during the pendency of a divorce. If you have any questions about the obligations under the standing orders or the consequences of failing to follow the standing orders, you should consult with an attorney to have the implications explained further.
Not all counties have standing orders like Williamson County does and some cases need more specific orders than the standing orders provide during the pendency of a divorce. If you are in another county and want to protect your property while the divorce process is pending or if the standing orders do not meet your needs in Williamson County, one great option is to request the court to set a hearing for temporary orders. Temporary orders can be much more broad than the standing orders and are a great option to help someone achieve a similar outcome as a legal separation has in other states. Temporary orders are entered while a divorce is pending and depending on the wording in the order, they can last until a final order is entered in a case and a person is legally divorced.
Free Phone Consultation
If you are contemplating a divorce or have any family law issue in Williamson County or the surrounding areas, call the Law Office of Margaret McCroan today at 512-777-0850 and we can set up a free phone consultation to discuss your options.